The Appalachian

Americans should support all of education

Lindsey Chandler

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In the ongoing debate on education in the United States, it’s no surprise that the public favorability of importance of college education has decreased.

But in the eyes of that same public, proper education for future educators is of the utmost importance.

The second portion of the 46th annual PDK-Gallup poll published in September revealed only 43 percent of the national polling population believes a college education is very important, according to the Washington Post.

At first glance this seems like a shockingly negative black-and-white statistic. However, 48 percent of the polled population believes college education is fairly important, and 9 percent finds it not too important.

The same poll asked whether or not teachers should be held to the same board certification standards as in other professions such as medicine and law. Surprisingly, 85 percent of the national total said yes. Furthermore, 44 percent of the national total polled believe teachers in training should receive guided instruction for at least one year.

Americans are contradicting themselves. We don’t find college education as important as we used to, but we are pushing for teachers to be more qualified. We don’t think that college graduates are career-ready, but college education is seen as very important to fewer people.

Fortunately, and regardless of prestigious qualification, Teach For America is an organization that is working toward giving future teachers and students the best preparation possible.

This poll goes against the philosophy of the organization, which recruits recent college graduates and places them in five-week programs during the summer to prepare them for teaching at the beginning of a school year.

Teach For America corps members are placed based on need in specific regions, and are offered competitive salaries and benefits. Within the last 25 years, Teach For America has recruited over 47,000 individuals to commit to two years to teaching in some of America’s neediest schools, according to the Washington Post.

It is disheartening to read that for the population, college education is not at a higher percentage of favorability. We are preoccupied with getting the best teachers possible, but do not favor the very institutions that can provide them.

For hopeful future educators, we are discouraging. What’s worse is that when those students prepare themselves to enter the workforce, we tell them that they are not qualified enough.

Teach For America thankfully recognizes the importance of education and hopes to ignite the attention and energy for every person to care about the education of our future leaders.

Chandler, a senior psychology and Spanish major from Cary, is a copy editor.

1 Comment

One Response to “Americans should support all of education”

  1. Michael Behrent on October 5th, 2014 8:38 pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. You’re right about the contradictory attitudes. But isn’t the core of the problem the skepticism about public institutions–the unwillingness to fund the kind of programs and training that can actually bring us better teachers? Teach for America provides an important service, but one organization, whatever its merits, is not the solution. We need to be more cognizant of the fact that good teachers and good schools requires investment in public services–not a relentless gutting of them.

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Americans should support all of education